Cicero and Boethius did more than anyone else to transmit the insights of Greek philosophy to the Latin culture of Western Europe which has played so influential a part in our civilisation to this day. Cicero’s treatise On Fate (De Fato), though surviving only in a fragmentary and mutilated state, records contributions to the discussion of a central philosophical issue, that of free will and determinism, which are comparable in importance to those of twentieth-century philosophers and indeed sometimes anticipate them. Study of the treatise has been hindered by the lack of a combined Latin text and English translation based on a clear understanding of the arguments; R. W. Sharples’ text is intended to meet this need. The last book of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy (Philosophiae Consolationis) is linked with Cicero’s treatise by its theme, the relation of divine foreknowledge to human freedom. Latin text with facing-page English translation, introduction and commentary.
R.W. Sharples was Professor of Classics at University College London. He is the author of several books including Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics (Routledge, 1996).